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Niger's Ousted President Mohamed Bazoum Loses Immunity, Faces Legal Action

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Griffith Sarah

Jun 16, 2024

President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum during the opening session of the New Global Financial Pact Summit at the Palais Brogniart in Paris, France on June 22, 2023.

Niger's ousted President Mohamed Bazoum has been stripped of his immunity by the State Court of Niamey, paving the way for criminal proceedings against him, his lawyers announced on Friday. Bazoum was deposed in a military coup last July and has since been detained with his wife, despite calls for their release from the regional bloc ECOWAS and Western powers.

Moussa Coulibaly, one of Bazoum's lawyers, stated that the court's decision allows for prosecution on charges of treason and conspiracy to undermine state security. Coulibaly criticized the court proceedings, claiming they violated Bazoum's right to a defense by denying access to his client and rejecting their arguments.

Niger's authorities have not commented on the situation. Last year, the junta indicated plans to prosecute Bazoum for high treason over his communications with foreign leaders and international organizations.

The coup that ousted Bazoum was one of eight in West and Central Africa since 2020. The ruling military authorities have disregarded calls for Bazoum's reinstatement, including a ruling from the ECOWAS Court of Justice deeming his detention arbitrary.

Bazoum and his wife have not appeared before a magistrate, and their phone line was disconnected in October, leaving them isolated except for visits from their doctor. In January, Bazoum's 23-year-old son, Mohamed Bazoum Salem, was granted provisional release from house arrest by Niger's military tribunal.

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